Tales from Gazen Salts

The Clarity to the Clutter

Season 2

See Here for Season One of Tales from Gazen Salts Nature Reserve Directory

The Clarity to the Clutter

For the last three weeks at Gazen Salts Nature Reserve, l have been tasked and busy with clearing up the Nissan Hut. This is a building you don’t often see me write about because it isn’t actually on the grounds of the reserve itself but is where all the equipment is stored.

It’s a building that is, l think, around eighty years of age and is derelict in some respects. It’s not empty or falling, but it should be condemned in some ways because it is an old World War II building. It has an asbestos roof which is not considered safe these days.

It doesn’t have any running water and is not connected to the water mains or the electric mains. It is desperate for light because at thirty feet in length and twenty feet wide, it is considerably dark in places and more so the further you venture in, as there are no windows for any light traces to seep in.

The light you get is from the outside when the doors are open, and even then, that light only penetrates the darkness by about twelve feet.

It is filled with junk and has belonged to Gazen Salts since 1971 when they first took it on board as a storage area for the reserve for tools and the such like. It has never had functioning lights as in electricity-fed lighting, but from the mid-eighties to 2003, it was fed lighting through old car batteries. But that year was the last time the building saw any form of lighting, albeit weak.

The last time the ‘hut’ was cleaned out and tidied up was also in 2003. So for the previous nineteen years, it had remained in darkness and untidy and slowly, over those years, the frustrations of people not being able to find what they wanted and when they needed it meant that instead of buying some form of temporary lighting or using car batteries they bought new stuff thinking they didn’t have any of whatever it was they wanted in the first place.

It’s not all junk, of course. Some of the content is just old and aged and ageing and past its sell-by date in quality use.

I suggested a month ago that we must address the hut’s problems. We needed to have a giant clear out of everything inside, bring it all to the light and see what was required to be kept and what was to be discarded and, more importantly, what could be sold to bring valuable coins into the charity.

It didn’t stop there; l also suggested further that we must clear out the wood piles beside the hut, the log piles, and the small wood sheds to achieve clarity in the clutter. Anything that we could do to produce a profit from our debris was viable in the possibility departments.

And so the challenge was set – the clean-up operation had to begin somewhere, which was three weeks ago, on the 28th of September. The first month was to be taken up with an initial clear out, tidy up, and brush out of the four quarters of the shed.

The next stage, somewhere in October, was to examine each quarter’s content with a good view of what was needed for day-to-day functioning in Gazen Salts, what was not and what most assuredly was surplus to requirements to make sales.

The final stage was to inventorise everything that Gazen Salts was to keep, make and introduce a working system that was sustainable for the next warden and the volunteers and list the items that were to sell for the Gazen Salts Garage Sale. Again my idea.

All going well, and to schedule, the sale should be sometime in December. We can sell many things, and l know that many people would want to buy some of the stuff we have to deal with. I, myself, have already bought several items from the hut for the allotment and the worm farms. I still have my eyes on other things as well.

The galleries below display the last three weeks’ worth of work for Stage one, and you can see the sheer volume of stores we have in stock. In the next episode, you will see how Stage two worked, and Stage three will display the final phase of inventorying the content for sales and keeping.

See you next time, and thanks for reading.

Stage One – 28th September

The first day tackling this huge job was massive, we pulled out non-stop for the first two hours boxes and bags and bins and buckets filled to the brim with ‘just odd and quirky stuff’.

It’s a significant undertaking that three hours once a week by three people don’t do justice, but ‘shit don’t happen if shit don’t happen first’ is my motto. So before we can make a serious dent we have to make small dents to begin with, glean some space and slowly but surely move forwards – baby stepping basically.

it’s the first time since 2003 that everything will come out of the shed and the first time since 2013 that some of the equipment used back then to tackle the floods has come out. It’s shocking really and poor management. The charity has lost money in this shed.

The task at hand is to try and make between £2000 – £3500 back. I don’t know if that is possible, but the equipment currently in here just on minor configurative totals is worth roughly £25,000 brand new! The older equipment that has lain dormant for nearly 10 years should be worth something second-hand.

So if we can get a fraction back financially and at the same time slim the building’s content down l think that is worth it.

Stage Two – 05th October

We have a considerable amount of equipment in this shed, for instance the habegger Hit 32 pulley system brand new is around £1000. This piece of equipment has been sat in the hut since 2013 and no one has used it since and no one bothered to even clean it up after use during the floods of nine years ago. Secondhand and cleaned up, l think we should be able to get around £500 for it if not more as it is on a trolley.

We have tools till they come out of our ears!

Stage Three – 12th October

I think what astonishes me the most is that working on three of the four quarters over the last three weeks with the final quarter being worked on next Wednesday is just the sheer volumes of stuff, machines, tools, nuts and bolts, dust, dirt, rubbish – what gets me and l am not a control freak when it comes to being clean but l do know that being tidy makes life easy especially in working environments is that NO ONE has ever seen fit to take a brush in and clean it up!

OK, l know there is limited light – BUT STILL!

If l die this year it’ll not be from anything nefarious but from brushing this damn hut out. I have taken out so far from this building 150 kg of dust weight and dirt and rubble and shit, dead mice and rats, branches – the list is endless.

I struggle to get my brain around the money that has been spent on equipment in here by the last warden [pre-Tom] that has lain unused and decaying by the current charity. There are no excuses for this.

Not once during the last three weeks and working with the quarters have l taken stuff out that l took out the previous week. It’s mindblowing how much waste we have here. I hope we can make sales back.

You can see by the gallery above all we have to sort through inside and outside both, we have wood, brick, log, masonry, metal, scrap, equipment, tools, plant and a hundred thousand nuts and bolts to sift through ready for the Garage Sale in December.

Should be easy … yes?

Designs – Earthly Comforts – Inspired by Nature – see collection here

Tales from Gazen Salts Nature Reserve is about my time and stories of my voluntary work with this project.

I’ll see you next episode. Thanks for reading.

Gazen Salts Nature Reserve
Sandwich, Kent, England, UK

Published by The Autistic Composter

Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

9 thoughts on “Tales from Gazen Salts

  1. That would piss off to the max! Lazy sods! Wasteful laziness…I’m all about re-purpose, re-use, sell, donate. I hope you were wearing some kind of dust filtering mask…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s my philosophy Grace, there is/was/is no reason for this. It shouldn’t have taken nearly twenty years for this building to have been sorted out and tidied up, light or not.

      I wore safety glasses and had a scarf over my nose and mouth as the masks were becoming soiled too quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

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